Silent spring ap essay

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  1. Rachel Louise Carson and the Environmental Movement Essay
  2. Silent Spring - Wikipedia
  3. Silent Spring – Rachel Carson Paper

View Wish List View Cart. View Preview. Grade Levels. Activities , Handouts , Assessment. Common Core State Standards. Product Rating. File Type. Product Description. This lesson encourages students to write a rhetorical analysis and a synthesis essay. Total Pages. Report this Resource to TpT. Human beings are exposed to many different substances, some of which interact with each other in unpredictable ways, sometimes increasing their toxicity enormously. Seen from far away, it reveals only a sliver of light — nothing more, but viewed at extremely close range, the smallest molecule reveals a whole universe of relationships and understanding of the incredibly intricate structure of the entire world — not merely the organism that houses that molecule.

Only recently has research revealed the indispensable function of cells in producing the energy required for life to continue. Without functioning cells, even our organs are useless, for cellular oxidation is the basis of all life function. Many of the chemicals we apply indiscriminately to our environment act to disrupt the vital cellular function that keeps us alive. This field of study is so new that those who were medically trained prior to may not be able to realize its extreme importance and the terrible hazards involved with widespread use of chemicals.

Every cell in the body is involved in producing energy. Our cells are tiny chemical factories, taking in carbohydrate fuel and converting it in a complex process of many tiny steps into energy. Only since the s have mitochondria, the minute structures within cells that do so much of the work, been understood and appreciated for their extreme importance. Mitochondria contain enzymes that accomplish the work of energy production.

Adenosine triphosphate ATP is the form of energy produced at each stage of the mitochondrial process; its ability to transfer energy from one place to another within the body is the secret to physical life. Without ATP, life would cease; essentially, organisms would burn themselves out because energy would be burned but not transferred, halting the cycle that keeps living things going. There are a number of ways these substances can adversely affect the enzymes involved in the cycle of oxidation.

An increase in such disasters as congenital deformities and the cessation of fertilized egg cell division has been noted, and as of the Office of Vital Statistics was conducting studies based on the increase in malformations at birth. The problem is not merely one of reduced reproduction, but of possibly severe damage to our very genes. Our genes carry thousands of years of adaptation and evolution to us, so that in theory each successive generation is more successful than its predecessor.

Chemicals that act upon our genes can cause sudden mutations, producing new and undesirable changes in subsequent generations. Cell division is the basic process of life creation for everything from amoebae to humans, but mutations as a result of the sudden influx of chemicals into our environment threaten this process that builds upon millennia of gradual adaptation to infinitesimal change.

At the cellular level, life cannot cope with the onslaught of chemicals. Our understanding of chromosomes is extremely new from the perspective of the millions of years life has taken to reach the present, and our understanding of the effect of chemicals on chromosomes barely exists.

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Nevertheless, we bombard our environment with these chemicals; and now we are seeing the drastic effects they have on the most fundamental processes of all life. A number of examples are given of drastic mutation because of chemical exposure. Various chromosomal abnormalities discovered in humans are examined. We are now filling our environment with chemicals that have the power to alter our chromosomes and so alter the path of our genetic heritage, which is the result of millions or even billions of years of evolution.

Chemical makers are not required to test their products for their effects on genetics, so they do not — at our peril and the peril of future generations. She begins this chapter by focusing on the tiniest pieces of life, the cells and mitochondria and enzymes that function to keep energy flowing and life going. Having explained the complex and finely tuned process, she then explains the drastic effects radiation and chemicals have on the process. Then she builds further upon that foundation, explaining the ewly understood function of chromosomes and the potentially dire effects of chemicals upon these building blocks of life.

She ends this chapter as she has ended previous chapters, with a call to action that points out how we are only killing ourselves with our indiscriminate use of chemicals, but she builds upon this, too, by pointing out that damaging our chromosomes hurts not only us but also generations to come. Our irresponsible actions affect not only our present and future, but the very existence of humanity in the long term.

There are naturally occurring substances that cause cancer, such as radiation and arsenic. Soot is one carcinogen. The industrial era has brought many more. Because life, including human life, adapts to environmental changes extremely slowly, the carcinogens that man has created relatively recently in the span of history can have drastic effects on humans, as well as other creatures. Only since has the connection between external agents and the existence of cancer been recognized, and it was not until the latter part of the nineteenth century that various cancers were traced to exposure to certain chemicals.

There has been a huge increase in the incidence of malignancy, and in our awareness of it, in fewer than years. The American Cancer Society estimates that two out of three families will be stricken with cancer. Only 25 years ago, cancer in children was rare; now more American children die from cancer than from any other disease. Animal experiment evidence has shown that as many as six of the pesticides Carson has been discussing are carcinogens. Others are thought to produce leukemia in humans.

Still others may be indirect causes of malignancy. Arsenic is one cancer-causing substance. It has entered water supplies as a result of gold nd silver mining and has caused regional outbreaks of numerous disorders, including malignant tumors.

Rachel Louise Carson and the Environmental Movement Essay

The widespread use of arsenic compounds as pesticides begs the question of when more such regional outbreaks of arsenic-related cancers and other diseases will occur. Not only humans but other animals, from sheep and deer all the way down to bees, have been known to develop arsenical diseases. Several years elapsed before the Food and Drug Administration instituted a zero-tolerance policy on the chemical; before then, residues of this known carcinogen were allowable in food.

DDT and other chemicals have been shown to cause cancer, yet these substances are still in use in Unlike most cancers, Leukemia is a cancer that develops quickly. Since modern pesticides began to be used, the occurrence of leukemia has been increasing.

Other cancers also have been shown to be the result of chemical exposure. Several examples are given of individuals who developed leukemia after direct exposure to pesticides. The mysterious origins of cancerous cells are explored. Cancer appears in many different forms, and it is assumed that there are many different causes. One theory, the Warburg theory, is discussed involving damaged cells that survive through fermentation rather than respiration.

It also may explain why repeated small exposures to chemicals may be more dangerous than one single blast. The latter might kill cells completely, while the former may damage them only to the point that they become cancer-creating cells. The standards Warburg established show that most pesticides are perfect carcinogens because they interfere with the process of oxidation so vital to continued cell health. Another theory of cancer involves damaged chromosomes. Again, chemicals can easily damage chromosomes and so contribute to cancer creation and growth, or chemicals may cause mutations, which then foster cancer growth.

Many chemical pesticides cause chromosome doubling, which can cause major physical problems, including cancer. Certain chemicals are drawn to bone marrow, and thus are very likely to cause leukemia in people exposed to them. Children who are growing quickly provide ideal environments in which malignant cells can multiply.

Some chemicals affect sex hormones, which in turn adversely affect the ability of the liver to resolve hormonal imbalances. This can lead to an excess of certain hormones, which at elevated levels will cause cancer. Human beings are exposed to multiple chemicals that cause cancer. These exposures are uncontrolled. Exposure to certain substances may happen in many different ways, each one of which alone may be insufficient to cause harm; but in the aggregate result in cancer.

Other substances may cause no harm until a person is exposed to both of them, so that their effects are combined, or one chemical may increase the danger of another substance — even something apparently innocuous, such as laundry soap. Cancer may be caused in a two-step process involving exposure to radiation and later to a chemical. Public water supplies are now frequently contaminated with detergents, which alone are not carcinogenic but can increase the susceptibility of certain body tissues to chemicals that cause cancer. Just as we conquered many infectious diseases by improving sanitation and producing miraculous drugs, we must conquer cancer by finding a cure and eliminating the environmental poisons that cause cancer.

Medical experts believe that even if a cure were found, the rate of new cancers would far outstrip the rate of cured cancer patients. The good news is that humans have the ability to remove carcinogens from the environment, in contrast to a rampant infectious disease that humans did not introduce into the world. The search for a cancer cure must continue for the sake of those who have already been exposed, in some cases over decades, to dangerous chemicals likely to cause cancer.

For those not yet affected and for those not yet born, we can help prevent cancer by removing the substances that so clearly cause it. For many people in , this connection would have been relatively new because extremely dangerous chemicals were still being sold for household use as though they were innocuous to all but the targeted insects or unwanted plants.

Once again, Carson uses extensive scientific evidence, including figures and quotes from medical experts, to build her case. She explains how chemicals are understood to cause cancer in cells — again, relatively new information at the time. The major point of this chapter is that many cases of cancer could be avoided simply by eliminating many of the man-made carcinogens from the environment. Carson is again pointing out the obvious solution, which also happens to be the best moral choice: humans must stop poisoning themselves and the generations of the future.

Insects are genetically adapting to the chemicals we use — they are becoming resistant, but even worse than that, our chemical attacks on insects have weakened entire ecosystems, so that the natural enemies of the targeted insects are destroyed, along with the targets. This creates an ideal environment for the unwanted insects to reinfest an environment where their unfettered reproduction will not be challenged. Humans have been ignoring the powerful forces at work in the balance of nature and arrogantly asserting their dominance, which actually shifts the balance against them.

Humans have overlooked two critical facts: first, nature provides the best ways to control insects; and second, a chemically weakened environment opens the door to explosive insect repopulation. Insects are controlled by limitations on the amount of food available to them and by other insects — often an ongoing struggle for survival that is completely invisible to most humans. Our lack of understanding has contributed to our arrogant and grossly overzealous application of chemicals to the problem of insect control. If we worked at understanding the balance of nature, we could use its secrets to control unwanted insects without doing harm to our environment and ourselves.

Some insects hunt others; some insects are parasites to others; some feast on aphids by the hundreds. Many insects are our friends, yet we have killed them along with the unwanted insects by broadcasting lethal chemicals across thousands of acres of insect habitat. The balance of nature has already turned against us and will continue to do so as long as we continue to kill the good along with the bad.

Chemical battles against spider mites, red-banded leaf rollers, codling moths, and cotton-feeding insects have resulted in explosions in their populations. Trying to eliminate one destructive insect in these cases resulted in a huge increase in an even more destructive insect. Ironically, the extremely destructive corn borer is easily controlled by the introduction of its natural insect enemies — which cannot survive intense chemical attack.

The scale insect quickly reasserted itself, and many expensive crops were destroyed. Chemical companies give enormous amounts of money to universities to support further chemical research, but hardly any money is given for research on natural, biological controls. Natural controls do not provide the chance of making a fortune, but they are the only way the planet will survive in balance.

A program of natural controls in Nova Scotia has proven that expensive chemicals are not necessary. Human beings must give up their arrogance and learn to work with nature rather than battling against it. Carson continues using the technique of piling fact upon fact and example upon example to build her case.


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She continues to add examples of the arrogance and apparent stupidity of those who apply huge amounts of chemicals with disastrous results — even in some cases after natural controls have been instituted and used with great success for many decades. She again sounds the warning that humans must stop poisoning the world and instead must learn to work with the amazingly intricate checks and balances provided by nature.

Earlier, pre-DDT-era chemicals had become ineffective against some insects; Carson cites several instances. Post DDT, insects began to become resistant to chemicals more quickly. Now people interested in combating disease-carrying insects are realizing the seriousness of the situation because insects carrying deadly diseases grow to be immune to chemicals.

Many insects carry infectious diseases that are deadly to humans: mosquitoes malaria, yellow fever , houseflies dysentery and eye diseases , lice typhus , fleas plague , tsetse flies sleeping sickness , ticks fevers , and many more. The use of chemicals to control these insects is no longer working, and indeed may have destroyed the natural forces that could be put to use in combating these disease carriers.

The insects persist in developing resistance to each successive new chemical. A number of examples are provided of insects repeatedly developing resistance to multiple chemicals. In many cases the diseases the insects carry have regained a foothold because of the failed chemical control of the insects. In some cases, application of the chemicals has actually increased the population of the chemical-resistant insects. Many cases of chemical-resistant insects have cropped up in the U. It is unrealistic to expect to stay one chemical step ahead of the insects forever, yet that seems to be the approach of many in the chemical industry and farming.

The development of chemical resistance is a perfect illustration of natural selection. Scientists do not really know how insects develop resistance. Some develop resistance within a few months, while others take up to 6 years. Some people ask whether humans could develop resistance, but this is completely unrealistic; human generations last about 33 years, while several insect generations come and go within a month or so.

We must change our approach to the use of chemicals for attempted insect control. As in earlier chapters, she augments her argument with layers and layers of frightening facts. It is up to us to assert our right not to be poisoned. A huge variety of alternatives to the dangerous chemicals used ineffectively against insects is available. Whether they are already in use or in laboratory development or exist so far only in the imaginations of scientists, they are biological solutions based on the whole of nature and its intricate network of so many different kinds of life.

It is becoming increasingly clear that insecticides are more harmful to humans than to the insects we have sought to control with these chemicals. One alternative method of insect control is sterilization, in which sterilized males of the species are introduced into the environment. When the sterilized males mate with females, the life cycle is interrupted, and a whole generation of insects is eliminated.

Populations of pest insects such as the screw-worm have been wiped out with the method of disseminating large numbers of sterilized males. A number of other species are being tested for susceptibility to control by sterilization, in hopes that populations of disease-carrying insects, such as the tsetse fly, may be greatly reduced, thus improving healthful living conditions for thousands of humans and livestock. Experiments are being conducted to test various methods of insect sterilization, some of which are chemical.

We must exercise extreme caution, however, because widespread use of these new chemicals might put us in even deeper trouble that we are already in. Scientists are studying the chemical makeup of these substances, as well as of insect hormones. One success story is the creation of an artificial gypsy moth male-to-female lure; the fake lure is used to bait traps that capture the males for census work.

Another possible way to control some insects is through manipulation of their extreme sensitivity to certain sounds. Still other biological means of insect control have been around for many years. These involve manipulating the diseases and infections to which insects are susceptible. As mentioned in previous chapters, the hunter-and-prey relationship between certain kinds of insects can be used against the undesirable insects. Similarly, bacteria and viruses and other microscopic creatures can be used to attack particular insects. A number of tests are being conducted on various crop-destroying insects around the world.

Such methods are safe for humans because insect diseases are highly specific to insects; they are completely different from diseases that affect people. Since , about species of insect predators and parasites have been introduced and established in the U. Only California has a formal program in biological control of insects; unfortunately, such research does not receive the monetary support that continues to be lavished on chemical research programs.

Silent Spring - Wikipedia

Forests offer an incredible opportunity to cooperate with nature in controlling unwanted insects. Canada and Europe have gone much further than the U. In Germany and Italy, red ants have been used very successfully to protect reforested areas. Spiders are a huge part of the work of a pioneer in the field of natural forest protection, Dr. Heinz Ruppertshofen. Incredible insect control can be achieved by maintaining an adequate spider population.

Canada has used small mammals for similar purposes. A single shrew can eat up to sawfly cocoons in one day. The use of poisons has failed terribly and continues to fail despite ever-increasing efforts to find new and better poisons. We must stop trying to beat nature with the club of man-made poisons and learn to work within the intricate structure of the earth. If we do not, we will destroy the earth and ourselves. She provides a spark of hope by providing details about numerous efforts at natural insect control that in many cases have succeeded beyond expectation, even where chemical application has failed miserably.

She emphasizes the miraculously interwoven relationships among the thousands of species on the planet and the hope that we humans can give up our arrogance and brutality before it is too late. Because Carson refrains from naming particular corporations, the pesticide makers assume the monolithic shape of an evil empire in Silent Spring. Yet Carson does not preach at the industry.


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Yes, it develops hundreds of new deadly toxins a year, and, through disinformation and pressure on government agencies, it promotes their widest possible use the book is very clear about these things. But Carson seems to view such activity as natural to the commercial enterprise and wastes no time calling on pesticide producers to reform themselves.

Her thinking seems to be that more is to be expected of government. Nature An overview of key figures in Silent Spring that did not mention nature would be quite incomplete. If readers accept such a view, they must also agree with Carson that the sledgehammer-like approach of current pest control introducing large amounts of extremely toxic chemicals into the environment to eradicate a few species of insects is indefensible.

What poisons one part of the fabric of life poisons the whole. The Public Along with wildlife, the public is a major concern in Silent Spring. The image the book projects of this collective entity is that of a victim of the chemical industry, betrayed by irresponsible public officials and exposed to toxic pesticides at every turn. As the terrible side effects of pesticides become clearer, the public begins to ask questions, demand answers, and insist on greater responsiveness from government agencies. The Visionaries. The heroes of Silent Spring come from several walks of life: scientists laboring patiently in an often tedious and seriously underfunded area of research to determine the precise scope of the pesticide threat; birders and other amateur naturalists, whose careful observation of wildlife in the field yields essential information about the problem; activists driven by a deep concern for their communities and the natural environment to challenge industry and government to behave more responsibly; and philosophers, writers, and other thinkers who help citizens understand the cultural sources not just of the pesticide problem but of the whole range of trouble that modern civilization has stirred up with technology.

What all of these individuals share is an uncommon power discernment. Simply recognizing the broad impact of pesticides on Nature 53 the environment and health is a significant achievement. The Visionaries 54 Themes The Science of Pesticides One of the great insights of Silent Spring is its grasp of the pesticide problem as a compound one. On one hand, there are the intrinsic dangers of these chemicals: their capacity to disrupt basic biological processes, their persistence in the environment, and so forth.

But Carson knew that the manner in which a dangerous substance is also crucial. To understand how compounds like DDT and malathion have come to threaten life on a global scale, one has to examine what has been done with them. Each of the major themes of Silent Spring belongs then to one of two lines of argument; the first concerns the raw toxicity of pesticides, the second the recklessness with which they have been employed. Also, This time you did introduce the following quote, but you used a period and made it the next sentence Dont use contractions in writing papers.

Throughout the passage we need a comma here after "passage" the author does an amazing job of making the reader feel guilty for all of these killings that occurred, and makes the reader reflect on their actions. As well as rhetorical questions and emotional content insert comma the author again stresses on diction and tone to make the reader realize how serious the state of the environment is to our country. Through the use of a rhetorical question , the author makes the reader realize that they are responsible for the deadly fields, no comma needed here and the endless negative affects that parathion has on the environment.

Negligence and responsibility are the two most prominent feelings brought upon the reader in this passage, semi colon here, no comma i think. Either way, what you have isnt correct the negligence the people had to help when this occurred, and the responsibility people should have to fight against something when it is obviously incorrect. Last edited by beachbum; at PM.

I hope they let you explain yourself and not give you a zero. I chop hoes like lumberjacks. And hes just getting his paper proofread for grammar mistakes, thats not plagarism or cheating really. What was the prompt? That's not an essay. That's half a page of writing. Never start a sentence with a quotation.

Silent Spring – Rachel Carson Paper

I'm so adjective, I verb nouns! Is your essay worth reading? Most of my friends order their essays on Rapid Essay because they are not able to write a good text by themselves.